Marijuana is legal for medical purposes in 29 American states, but doctors lack the expertise and knowledge about using weed for therapeutic purposes and hesitate to prescribe marijuana-based treatment, says a recent survey.
The study involving curriculum deans from 101 colleges reported graduates’ unpreparedness to accept medical marijuana as an effective way to treat Americans for a number of health disorders. Most of them were unable to answer questions related to the medicinal use of marijuana.
The scenario was no less different amongst medical residents and fellows from across the country. They were just as much in the dark like others. Of the 258 medical residents surveyed, nine out of 10 stated their unwillingness to prescribe marijuana. An overwhelming 85 percent of the respondents said that they had received no education regarding the use and side effects of weed. Concerned about the grim reality of health care industry, senior author Dr. Laura Jean Bierut, a professor of psychiatry at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said, “Medical education needs to catch up to marijuana legislation.”
The antipathy toward medical marijuana became all the more serious as the study progressed. Not only graduates, even medical colleges rarely talk about marijuana. According to the Association of Medical Colleges, only 9 percent medical schools taught their students about medical marijuana. Commenting on the mismatch between state laws regarding medical marijuana and the training provided to future physicians, study author Anastasia Evanoff said, “We talk about how those drugs can affect every organ system in the body, and we learn how to discuss the risks and benefits with patients. But if a patient were to ask about medical marijuana, most medical students wouldn’t know what to say.”
Medical and recreational marijuana
Some of the conditions for which medical marijuana can be used are:
- epilepsy and seizures
- inflammatory bowel disease
- cancer, particularly, nausea one feels after chemotherapy session
- multiple sclerosis
- chronic pain
Some people consider marijuana as a gateway drug that precedes the use of other illicit substances. Past research suggests that those who use marijuana during early stages of their life are likely to develop alcohol use disorder. It disrupts the reward centers of the brain, affecting memory, learning and other significant abilities. Sometimes, the structural and functional changes can cause irreversible damage.
There is a huge difference between marijuana that is used for the purpose of medication, and the one that is obtained illegally from a vendor on the street and more often used to get a high. An important factor contributing to the difference between the two is the ratio of cannabidiol (CBD) and Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Both CBD and THC have cannabinoid elements, but the effects of these on the brain receptors are different. While THC causes one to have a psychedelic high, CBD reverses many of the harmful impacts of THC. There is also a vast difference in the ratios of CBD and THC in medical and illegal marijuana; the latter has very low CBD and THC ratio, as it is primarily concerned with maximizing the euphoric effects, while medical marijuana’s primary purpose is to alleviate pain.
When it comes to marijuana, one should be extremely careful with its use. Reckless practices and lack of supervision can be harmful. Although marijuana is considered a relatively safer drug, it is still associated with several short-term and long-term adverse effects.
Hooked Sober is a source of information on drugs, alcohol, eating disorders and mental disorders. Please send your questions, concerns or comments to [email protected] or speak to a representative at 866-838-4087.